Sunday, July 15, 2012

In the U.S. Airline Industry Museum

Memories
The museum is a small affair, on one side of the small one-story terminal that sits at the main entrance to Apopka Orlando Airport. While it may be small it's been built with care and attention to detail, and filled full with interesting memorabilia that help to document the history of the airline industry. While it may be small the museum deserves a far larger treatment than what I gave it Saturday. After spending too much time inside the 240, I had barely enough time to look around the museum and meet the hosts who'd invited me out that day.
Meritorious Service
Two Good Friends
I had the most interaction with Retired PanAm Captain LeRoy Brown (left) and Retired Delta Captain Bill Lupo. Capt. Brown was a past president of the museum foundation, while Capt. Lupo is its current president. While both are very interesting individuals, it's Capt. Brown who truly piques my interest. Capt. Brown is 94. His career in aviation stretches back to the Second World War.
Life Partners
His wife, Wanda Brown (left) was his radio "man" before she was his wife.

There's enough verbal history between those three that it makes me wonder if I shouldn't go ahead and invest in one more camera, the Olympus E-M5, and use that to video a verbal history of the three, starting with Capt. Brown. Capt. Brown is remarkably lucid and sharp as a tack, as well as being a gracious gentleman. And when I say gracious gentleman, I mean that in all positive ways possible. Capt. Brown hearkens back to a period in civil aviation when 'civil' meant polite, courteous, and mannerly as much as it meant about the civilian side of aviation. I remember that period, before deregulation. Flying itself was as much a part of the adventure as the destination. Today's civil aviation has reduced the commercial airliner to little more than a bus with wings, and that's giving today's buses a bad name. I was more comfortable traveling on Greyhound than couch on Southwest's 737.
EP146418
We Love To Fly
Among the memorabilia in the cases is this Delta bumper sticker with a slogan from the 1980s. Because my dad worked for Delta for nearly 50 years, back to when I was born, I remember a lot from Delta, as well as from the airlines my Uncle Tommy flew for. Along with "We Love To Fly" was "Fly Delta!" and "Delta Is Ready When You Are," a slogan that encapsulated Delta's wide ranging route system and all the flights it had available on those routes. It didn't matter when or at what time, Delta pretty much was ready when you were to fly, at least within the continental United States. In one incident of many, I remember when Eastern Airlines started flying the Boeing 727 in the early 1960s. Eastern dubbed it the "Whisperjet." The running joke at Delta was "What does a Whisperjet whisper? Fly Delta!"
There was a fair amount of good-natured ribbing between my dad and my uncle, who flew for Southern Airways. My uncle flew long enough to become a part of Republic through the merger of Southern and North Central Airlines. My uncle continued to fly through the merger of Republic and Northwest Orient to form Northwest. He retired as a captain from Northwest in the early 2000s. In 2008 Delta purchased Northest.

As I wrote earlier, the museum, small as it may be, deserves a bit better overall documentation than what I gave it this past weekend. I've been invited out again, so I'll be working on what and how to shoot over the next few months.

Technical

I used the E-P2 and the E-PL2 inside the museum for the detail shots. In particular I use the E-PL2 with the M.Zuiko 45mm for all portrait shots, two of which you see above. I had turned on Face Priority in the menus (Detail Menu > DISP/Sound/PC > Face Priority). The facial recognition software in the E-PL2 also "looks" for the eyes as a focus point within the face. Every photograph I took with the 45mm was dead on with regards to focus. This body and lens will be my go-to camera in the future for portraiture.

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